Premier Colin Barnett has stoutly defended his Government’s record on police funding, as the force’s union placed itself at the heart of the State election campaign with a demand for 800 more officers.
The WA police union released its pre-election submission today, arguing for 800 more officers over the next four years, demanding exemption from any government funding cuts, and also flagging a future demand for more pay and more allowances.
“Policing is a profession unlike any other, and it is up to our politicians to ensure police have the right training, knowledge and equipment to be as effective and as safe as they can be on our streets,” union president George Tilbury said.
A defiant Premier defended his Government’s record on resourcing the State’s police, saying it was on track to deliver a previous promise of 700 new staff, including 350 new officers.
And he said new laws and new technology had given the State’s police more scope to protect the community during the past four years.
“We made a commitment at the last election for a big increase in police numbers up until 2014 and we are on track to do that,” Mr Barnett said.
“We always need more numbers and the policing numbers will continue to grow as the population grows.
“Policing is changing, and a lot of what the police commissioner is requesting has been better technology ... things like new legislation to protect police officers, laws on out-of-control parties.
“Numbers matter but it is not just that.”
The police union’s 17-point wish list also included new laws to make offenders who assault police take a mandatory blood test for communicable diseases and a minimum six month prison term for those who assault police.